Where to go out in Athens
Sure, when it comes to the Athens nightlife you can have the kind of homogenised experience that’s found in every major city in the world – but where’s the fun in that? If you want to do it like a local (and trust us, you do) then it’s all about taking your time, being comfortable and engaging with the company you’re in. Few places in Athens allow you to do this like PLAY. Here, the menu of board games is more extensive than the drinks list; local musos, artists and students congregate nightly to sip wine, beer or tsipourou brandy with the friendly (and largely English-speaking) staff, who are on hand to help you pick a game and explain the rules.
Once both body and mind have been stimulated, the Intrepid Fox should be your next stop. It’s probably the friendliest rock bar you’ll visit, and doubles up as a tattoo studio where you can get a regrettably permanent reminder of your visit. For those who like their drinks creative (and expensive), the city has a vibrant cocktail scene courtesy of some excellent mixologists. Situated bang in the middle of Athens’s busiest tourist spot, Monastiraki Square, A for Athens is nothing short of formidable in terms of both tipples and views on offer. If you want something with a bit more character, The Gin Joint is a worthy option.
If your feet start to itch, the city boasts a few stylish clubs. Cubanita delivers liveliness in spades, with a participatory environment and authentic Cuban music. If you’re looking for straight up glitzy surrounds, banging DJs and mainstream hits, then Barouge will be your final stop of the evening.
Finally, for an altogether sweatier, more deafening night out, one of Athens’s smallest but best-loved rock clubs is An Club, set right in the heart of rocker- and anarchist-packed Exarchia. This is a great place to catch local rock metal acts as they play their first riffs on their way towards stardom, but also once in a while the odd international act, such as Parquet Courts.
PLAY Agiou Ioannou, 23 Ayía Paraskeví, Attiki. +30 21 0608 3988.
Intrepid Fox Triptolemou 30, Gazi, Kerameikou. +30 21 0346 6055.
A for Athens Miaouli 2-4, Monastiraki. +30 21 0324 4244.
The Gin Joint Christou Lada 1. +30 21 0321 8646.
Cubanita Karaiskaki 28, Psiri. +30 21 0331 4605.
Barouge Andronikou 4 & Tzaferi, Gazi. +30 694 537 1194.
An Club Solomou 13-15, Exarchia. + 30 210 330 5056.
The bouzoukia of Athens
Named after a Greek instrument that bears a more than passing resemblance to a mandolin, the city’s bouzoukia bars are the place to hear laïkó: traditional Greek songs steeped in a melancholic sadness, which make for compelling background music for a couple of drinks. If you’re after a relaxed, bistro-style environment, there’s few better than Allegro. But if you want to take the plunge into a fully authentic bouzoukia, check out either Iifigeneia or Victoria, where you’re likely to be showered with rose petals and free drinks if you get up and give the adoring audience a tourist’s take on Greek dancing (just pretend they’re laughing with you).
Allegro 69 Tsaldari Panagi Street (Peiraios Street). +30 21 0323 0035.
Iifigeneia 201 Sygrou Avenue.
Victoria Victoria’s Square.